Did Microsoft MVPs influence Ballmer against Yahoo?

Remember the recent MVP Summit? Where Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, asked them questions about Yahoo and seemed surprised by the answers? Reddit had a lot of reaction about that. Reddit is where many early adopters hang out. It sure seemed like Ballmer was surprised by the feedback he got.

Did that start the process that led to Ballmer pulling out his offer to purchase Yahoo?

26 thoughts on “Did Microsoft MVPs influence Ballmer against Yahoo?

  1. Good day,

    I’d like to speak to a few points. First, some Microsoft MVPs are extremely business savvy, we’re not all C-coders who studied Fortran at Waterloo. Personally, I am a business-man first, Excel (per Microsoft) guru second. There are many Microsoft MVPs with advanced degrees and professional experience outside the classic role of a technology-first professional.

    MVPs are not necessarily Evangelists. Yes, I’d be the first person to tell you that if you need to use Spreadsheet technology, there is nothing anywhere even close to as powerful as Excel available. There just isn’t. However, I’d also be the first person to tell you that the Offset() function leaves something to be desired and I can’t stand MS Query (within Excel). I’d also be the first to tell you that I’m not crazy about all of Microsoft’s offerings (I’ll spare you the list).

    I like Ballmer and he does appear to be genuinely interested in Microsoft MVP feedback on a variety of matters, I too attended the Microsoft MVP Summit this year.

    Personally, I didn’t like this deal (Yahoo/Microsoft) and I like M&A activity. It struck me as a really expensive way to acquire clicks/end-users; Yahoo Mail, Search and Maps don’t strike me as anything special, so why pay an outrageous premium for technology that’s substandard to Google’s? It seems to me that they’d be better off investing in talent and developing the technologies in question organically.

    Regards,
    Nathan Oliver
    Microsoft Excel MVP

  2. Good day,

    I’d like to speak to a few points. First, some Microsoft MVPs are extremely business savvy, we’re not all C-coders who studied Fortran at Waterloo. Personally, I am a business-man first, Excel (per Microsoft) guru second. There are many Microsoft MVPs with advanced degrees and professional experience outside the classic role of a technology-first professional.

    MVPs are not necessarily Evangelists. Yes, I’d be the first person to tell you that if you need to use Spreadsheet technology, there is nothing anywhere even close to as powerful as Excel available. There just isn’t. However, I’d also be the first person to tell you that the Offset() function leaves something to be desired and I can’t stand MS Query (within Excel). I’d also be the first to tell you that I’m not crazy about all of Microsoft’s offerings (I’ll spare you the list).

    I like Ballmer and he does appear to be genuinely interested in Microsoft MVP feedback on a variety of matters, I too attended the Microsoft MVP Summit this year.

    Personally, I didn’t like this deal (Yahoo/Microsoft) and I like M&A activity. It struck me as a really expensive way to acquire clicks/end-users; Yahoo Mail, Search and Maps don’t strike me as anything special, so why pay an outrageous premium for technology that’s substandard to Google’s? It seems to me that they’d be better off investing in talent and developing the technologies in question organically.

    Regards,
    Nathan Oliver
    Microsoft Excel MVP

  3. Erm, aren’t MVP’s Microsoft enthusiasts by nature? Why would he be surprised that they don’t use Yahoo?

  4. Erm, aren’t MVP’s Microsoft enthusiasts by nature? Why would he be surprised that they don’t use Yahoo?

  5. Oh please.

    Major revolts from the investment/analyst/shareholder community, internal discord at water-high new levels, every pundit from here to the New York islands against it. All of the Valley extremely angsty over it, with the deal having to morph hostile. Some dopey MVP ain’t going to “change” his mind, and in fact, from the rather snippy final letter, the price was too high, and Yahoo was purposely going scorched earth, making the offer far less attractive, no “influence” whatsoever, he just couldn’t pull the deal off. Microsoft is better off for it anyways, but Yahoo is a goner (which is why Microsoft won the round, even though they technically lost).

    Two seconds after his speech was over, that will be the last thought about MVPs, until next year, his schedule is unreal. If he, indeed does, let MVPs “influence” him, then Microsoft is doomed.

  6. Oh please.

    Major revolts from the investment/analyst/shareholder community, internal discord at water-high new levels, every pundit from here to the New York islands against it. All of the Valley extremely angsty over it, with the deal having to morph hostile. Some dopey MVP ain’t going to “change” his mind, and in fact, from the rather snippy final letter, the price was too high, and Yahoo was purposely going scorched earth, making the offer far less attractive, no “influence” whatsoever, he just couldn’t pull the deal off. Microsoft is better off for it anyways, but Yahoo is a goner (which is why Microsoft won the round, even though they technically lost).

    Two seconds after his speech was over, that will be the last thought about MVPs, until next year, his schedule is unreal. If he, indeed does, let MVPs “influence” him, then Microsoft is doomed.

  7. I’m an MVP. I was there. I sat in the front row.

    Ballmer was surprised.

    Contrary to what people may say or think, Ballmer and Microsoft DO care what customers think and they DO listen to MVPs and all of their customers.

    Chuck Boyce
    Digital Media MVP 2008
    SQL Server MVP 2006, 2007

  8. I’m an MVP. I was there. I sat in the front row.

    Ballmer was surprised.

    Contrary to what people may say or think, Ballmer and Microsoft DO care what customers think and they DO listen to MVPs and all of their customers.

    Chuck Boyce
    Digital Media MVP 2008
    SQL Server MVP 2006, 2007

  9. If Ballmer did let the MVP’s influence his decision, then his business and negotiation skills are non-existent. My guess is Ballmer immediately dismissed his talk with MVP’s when it was over. He won’t think about them again until minutes before he has to speak to them again next year.

    jimconnolly, there has been a wave of negativity on Ballmer well before the Yahoo fiasco. But rest assured, his position is secure. The MS board is too afraid, and Gates won’t allow Ballmer to be fired. If he were to go, it would be on his own terms alone. He will never be forced out.

  10. If Ballmer did let the MVP’s influence his decision, then his business and negotiation skills are non-existent. My guess is Ballmer immediately dismissed his talk with MVP’s when it was over. He won’t think about them again until minutes before he has to speak to them again next year.

    jimconnolly, there has been a wave of negativity on Ballmer well before the Yahoo fiasco. But rest assured, his position is secure. The MS board is too afraid, and Gates won’t allow Ballmer to be fired. If he were to go, it would be on his own terms alone. He will never be forced out.

  11. A question:

    I have been doing research for an article I am writing about Ballmer and one thing has really struck me over and over again.

    The blogosphere is extremely negative about (or hates) Steve Ballmer.

    My question is, what impact will this wave of negativity have on Ballmer’s position or the decisions he makes?

    I would love to know what you guys think!

    Jim Connolly
    The Ideas Blog

  12. A question:

    I have been doing research for an article I am writing about Ballmer and one thing has really struck me over and over again.

    The blogosphere is extremely negative about (or hates) Steve Ballmer.

    My question is, what impact will this wave of negativity have on Ballmer’s position or the decisions he makes?

    I would love to know what you guys think!

    Jim Connolly
    The Ideas Blog

  13. As an MVP who was at the summit I would say it’s unlikely. Several MVPs wanted the deal to go through and talked extensively about their use of Yahoo Mail and Yahoo maps….

    We MVPs aren’t that powerful.

    I suspect Balmer’s had his mind made up on Yahoo since the week after the offer was made.

  14. As an MVP who was at the summit I would say it’s unlikely. Several MVPs wanted the deal to go through and talked extensively about their use of Yahoo Mail and Yahoo maps….

    We MVPs aren’t that powerful.

    I suspect Balmer’s had his mind made up on Yahoo since the week after the offer was made.

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